We have spent a lot of time riding Kawasaki’s Z750. I was at its launch in the south of Spain and got to sample it for a day in the mountain roads above Malaga. Since then, I’ve tested it a couple of times in group tests against its rivals. And I’ve even thrashed it round Mondello on a track day. But despite me testing the Z750 in a variety of ways, my verdict on it has always been exactly the same – it’s a bloody impressive motorcycle that’s easily the best in its class. It does have an obvious advantage in the budget middleweight sector of course – its engine size. And though it might seem a bit unfair to judge it alongside 600s like the Hornet, Fazer and SV650, as it’s in the same price bracket, the comparison is actually justified.
The extra cee cees make life on the Kawasaki a lot easier. Apart from having around ten bhp more than the other in-line fours, the stronger mid-range pays dividends. Gearchanging is needed nowhere near as frequently as it is on the smaller bikes, and you can usually rely on the superior torque to pull you along whenever you want to raise the pace without having to resort to dropping cogs. It doesn’t hurt to scream the motor a bit more though. And if you do that in top you’ll reach decent speeds. It’s pretty fast for a budget bike, in fact.
Though fans of extreme comfort and civility will note the slight buzziness at very high rpm and the lack of wind protection at very high mph. The small nose cowling is only there for show. And even if it’s, like the rest of the bike, pretty to look at, shelter is not something that’s on offer.Instead of being battered by the wind on long stretches of motorway, you’re better off taking the Kawasaki down some back roads. The bike handles very well and whether you’re doing feet up U-turns or howling round a racetrack, the balance and composure is always impressive. The chassis might not sound too trick on paper with only a steel frame, and basic spec suspension and brakes to shout about. But in the real world all that stuff does a damned good job and lets you push on really hard.
It might not sound too light at 195kilos, but it can still be flicked about without much effort. And bar the lack of wind protection at higher speeds, the Z750 is easily comfortable enough for longer runs. Pillions aren’t catered for so well, however, and might moan at the lack of grabrail and small seat.
There isn’t much the smaller brother to the Z1000 can’t do well really. It’s a great all-rounder and suits beginners and less-experienced riders perfectly thanks to it being so easy to ride. In fact, with the 750 you get a bit more than you’d normally pay for with a middleweight roadster – an extra 150cc. And that makes all the difference.
Engine type: 748cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke, in-line four cylinder
Compression ratio: 11.3:1
Maximum power: 110bhp @ 11,200rpm
Maximum torque: 55ft/lb @ 8,200rpm
Fuel system: fuel-injected
Clutch: wet, multi-plate
Final drive: chain
Frame: steel diamond
Front suspension: 41mm telescopic forks, no adjustment
Rear suspension: rising-rate monoshock, adjustable preload and rebound damping
Front brake: twin 300mm discs with twin-piston Tokico calipers
Rear brake: single 220mm disc with single-piston Tokico caliper
Wheels: six-spoke alloy
Tyres: Bridgestone BT019 120/70 ZR17 front, BT012 180/55 ZR17 rear
Claimed weight: 195kg (dry)
Seat height: 815mm
Fuel tank: 18litres
Colours: Red, Blue, Black